Illini Coach Tim Beckman addresses issue of recruiting Penn State players



Newly minted Illini head Coach Tim Beckman addressed the issue of the day surrounding his program, and the Big Ten conference in general, the Penn State football roster being re-opened for recruiting.

Beckman took the topic head on with the opening statement in his time at the podium:

“It was brought to our attention by two individuals prior to even any sanctions being granted by the NCAA that an opportunity might present itself for a transfer,” he said.

“We did not go onto their campus.  We only talked to individuals that would be willing to meet with us.  We did not go after them.  They had the opportunity to come to us if they would like to come to us and speak to us.  And that’s how we handled the situation.”

He also fielded a few questions about it, including this one:

Q.  The NCAA is allowing Penn State players to transfer.  You addressed it in your opening statement.  Do you feel like there’s anything that you would have to apologize for or be defensive about if you are looking at Penn State players and if they end up coming to your school?

COACH BECKMAN:  Not at all.  We’re just following the rules of the NCAA.
We provided Penn State with the names of the people that?? prior to us even going there.  Our compliance coordinator, Ryan Squire, and Mike Thomas, our athletic director gave him a list of people that?? so that they were aware of, before we got there, of who those individuals might be.

Basically, Beckman would say this is a situation of (and I’m kind of putting it in the gist of it form here) “them coming to us, not us going to them, and then later us letting them know where we’ll be in case they want to come to us.”

He also said 8 Illini coaches went to State College, but only on the outskirts, not on campus. Beckman would not say how many players are being recruited, or whether or not any have de-committed from PSU and committed to Illinois. He did say though that the team is following the rules of engagement in the process and that they’re only courting the same players that they had previously courted before sanctions were imposed.

Beckman claims that this situation with Penn State has not been about developing new relationships, only following up on previously forged connections.

Penn State Coach Bill O’Brien said that he has had no contact with Beckman about this process as of yet. Throughout the day, each Big Ten coach was asked about the chance to recruit PSU players, and whether that seemed right or wrong. The responses were varied, for a multitude of reasons.

On a side note, Beckman ramped up the rivalry with Northwestern with this back and forth:

Q.  Can you talk about your renewed emphasis on Illinois’s game with Northwestern and why you chose to emphasize that game in particular?

COACH BECKMAN:  Again, being around college football for my whole life, rivalries are something that make college football so unique.  And even in the Big Ten, I’ve been in those big rivalry football games, and I think it’s something that you breed through your program.

We call it the team upstate.  And I’m not scared to say that.  That’s the school we’re going to call it.  We’re going to make it a rivalry and we’re going to make it a very, very important part of our football season

I’d like to opine a bit that although I think this is a good idea, I have no pretensions about this becoming Ohio State vs. Michigan in the 1970s. This won’t be Woody vs. Bo II.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago, Fox Sports, MSN, Walter Football and Yardbarker

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too

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